Upper Lotts Creek Primitive Baptist

Bulloch County
Org 1832
Photography by Bryan Stovall

Upper Lotts  Creek Primitve Baptist is one of the oldest Primitive Baptists in Georgia.  It was formed in 1832 as a result of the schism in the Baptist church that arose over the progressisve attititudes of some of the churches to the addition of Sunday Schools, Missions, Musical instruments and other changes that were not well received by some of the more traditional Baptists.  The conservative faction became known as Primitive Baptists.  The Primitives were suspicious of anything new and non-traditional and especially if these views were espoused by what they perceived to be those of a higher social class.  Primitive Baptist congregations that formed during this antebellum period were referred to commonly as Old Line Primitive Baptists. The Upper Lott’s Creek congregation was organized in 1832 under the leadership of Absalom Parrish, who is buried in the cemetery along with many generations of Parrishes. The congregation was then known as Parrish’s Meeting House, but its original members changed the congregation’s name in 1841 when an accidental fire destroyed their first meetinghouse. The beautiful Greek Revival church you see above was constructed in 1881.  There are 26 interments in the cemetery with the surname Parrish.

From the National Register History – “The antebellum schism evolved in part due to a debate among slaveholders over whether or not to proselytize among African slaves and whether or not Baptist missionaries should be sent overseas in search of new converts. Old Line Primitive Baptists believed that sending missionaries among slaves and foreigners would dilute the Baptist faith and introduce new customs and ideas that might challenge older more  established practices. Most antebellum Old Line Primitive Baptist followers either did not own slaves or at most owned only a few. A majority of its members were small landholding whites and poor whites who at times found themselves to be culturally, as well as economically and politically, at odds with affluent slaveholders—many of whom were Missionary Baptists. Large slaveholders saw proselytizing among slaves as a means of achieving greater control over their chattel property, as well as a means of responding to criticism stemming from Northern evangelicals claiming that slavery was an immoral institution because slaveholders did not care about a slave’s soul. The split among Old Line Primitive Baptists and Missionary Baptists therefore represents a major divisive issue among the state’s antebellum-era white Baptists.”

“Bulloch County’s white antebellum population contained a sizeable number of large slaveholders and elite planters. Throughout the South, in areas where large plantations comprised the bulk of a county’s total arable land, white households that either did not own slaves or owned only a few, were forced to subsist on less suitable agricultural lands and often struggled to obtain cultural, economic, and political autonomy from their wealthier neighbors. During the antebellum period, the formation of a new church was roughly equivalent to the founding of a new community. When the Parrish Meeting House congregation organized and built their first church their actions were a clear sign of their desire to create a degree of social and cultural space between themselves and their wealthy neighbors who were predominately members of local Missionary Baptist churches……The property also contains the historic baptismal site used by the church from 1881 until the 1950s.  Baptism was one of the most important sacraments administered by the Primitive Baptist Church.  Baptism was a prerequisite for membership in the Upper Lott’s Creek Primitive Baptist Church. For nearly seven decades, the church baptized its members in the waters of Upper Lott’s Creek.”

Upper Lott’s Creek still has a vibrant congregation that has served the community now for over 180 years.  Some changes and upgrades have been made over the years but the congregation has respected the heritage and tradition of this important part of Georgia history.  She was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008.  Be sure to click and scroll the photos below for more information and geneology of some of Bulluch Countys oldest settlers.

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